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Tennessee one step closer to betting legalisation

Thu, May 2, 12:19pm by Staff Writer

The US state of Tennessee is poised to become the latest to authorise sports betting within its borders after the governor said he wouldn’t stand in the legislature’s way.

Calvin Ayre is reporting that on Tuesday, the Tennessee state Senate voted 19-12 in favour of SB-16, a modified version of the legislation the House of Representatives approved last week.

The House concurred with the Senate’s tweaks and the bill was duly forwarded to the desk of Governor Bill Lee.

Last Tuesday, the Tennessean quoted Lee’s spokesperson saying that the governor would allow the bill to become law without his signature, reflecting Lee’s apparent unease at the prospect of expanding gambling options in Tennessee.

Unlike some states that have passed betting legislation, which restricts wagering to existing land-based gaming venues, Tennessee’s plan is to permit online and mobile wagering online.

Tennessee is currently a casino-free state, with the only legal forms of gambling limited to lotteries and some modest charitable gaming events.

Tennessee’s betting legislation is also unique in that it requires betting licensees to utilize official league data for in-play wagering purposes, representing a first for the major North American sports leagues’ lobbying efforts.

The leagues have also lobbied hard for states to include the leagues’ desired integrity/royalty fee in betting legislation, but Tennessee’s new regime doesn’t include this cash grab.

The Tennessee Education Lottery oversees plans to form a nine-member commission that will be tasked with establishing betting regulations and monitoring licensees’ conduct.

Tennessee’s online and mobile betting licensees will pay $750,000 for their wagering permits, plus 20 per cent tax on their betting revenue.

The state hopes to collect $50 million in annual taxes from their new betting market, although critics are already suggesting the actual returns will come in well below this estimate.

Tennessee is the fourth US state to approve some form of betting legislation this year.

The legislatures in Indiana, Iowa and Montana have all done their bit and are merely waiting to see their respective governors will approve the bills.

Global Gaming CEO fired

Online casino operator Global Gaming has bid farewell to its chief executive as the company struggles to adjust to Sweden’s new regulated market, Calvin Ayre reports.

On Monday, the company announced that it had appointed Tobias Fagerlund as its acting CEO, replacing Joacim Moller, who “will leave his assignment in the group with immediate effect”.

The company said the search for a permanent CEO would start “immediately”.

Moller had only occupied the CEO’s office for one year, but the company’s official statement on his exit notes that the new regulatory scheme that launched in Sweden on January 1 “has led to major changes for all gaming operators in the Swedish gaming market, not least for Global Gaming.”

Global Gaming operates a number of successful Swedish-facing brands, including Ninja Casino, but recent stats have shown that the country’s two former gambling monopolies are dominating the new regulated online market at the expense of these international brands.

In mid-April, Global Gaming disappointed its shareholders by scrapping a planned dividend, citing reduced revenues in the Swedish market post-liberalisation.

The company’s first quarter revenue totaled US$17.1 million, down 18 per cent year-on-year.

On Monday, Global Gaming reassured investors that the company could compete in Sweden’s new market but said the company’s “adaptation” needed to be “further intensified”, and that this metamorphosis would require “new leadership”.

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